First Alert Weather In-Depth: The Fear of Lightning
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Many people have a fear of lightning, especially this time of the year. So how does lightning work?
It starts at the base of cumulus cloud with a pooling of negative electrons that begin to move downward in the atmosphere. We call this a “stepped leader.” We then get a group of positive charges that begin to move upward. This is called a “streamer.” Now keep in mind that air is not a good conductor of electricity. An electrical charge is looking for the path of least resistance. But it will find that channel and a connection will happen. This sounds complicated, but it all happens in a split second and that is the flash we see.
During the summer, the most that are the affected group is leisure activities. The highest probability of a fatality from a lightning strike is with sports – such as soccer and golf.
We do have some safety tips that you should keep in mind with thunderstorms. If you hear thunder you want to avoid the open areas outside. No location outside is safe when you hear the thunder. It is necessary to get out of the water when a thunderstorm is approaching. Next, if you do not have a building to get to, get inside a car. Lastly, you should always have a Plan B when it comes to severe weather.
The weather forecast should give you an indication of stormy weather and what is the likelihood of you needing an alternative to outside activities. There is an old saying, “when it roars, go indoors.” If you follow these simple rules there is nothing to be fearful of when it comes to lightning.